Fast Times at Nissan HQ

Today, my daughter and I had the entire day to hang out. We went to out for breakfast, played computer games, went swimming, went to the Lego store, and of course, visited Nissan North American Headquarters to check out the Level 3 DC Quick Charger for our LEAF. You know, like all 5yo girls enjoy doing.

L3 Fast Charger at Nissan NA

DC Quick Charger at Nissan NA

Seriously, though, she did seem to enjoy herself while prancing around on the sidewalk and around the high-voltage fast charging tower. It was both cute and disconcerting.

Ainsley at the ChargerSafety First

Ainsley hanging out with the DC monster & taking photos of it recording videos of safety instructions with her iPad

But I really wanted to write about the fast charger, as this thing is really something to behold. It’s relatively large for an ev charging station, though not really that daunting when compared the massive Nissan building just behind it, of course. The cord & charging plug attached to this thing are just massive, though. We’re talking Doc Brown sending 1.21 jiggawatts big!

Monster Plug

Monster plug capable of transferring 1.21 Gigawatts in 15 minutes

Charger + Cable

Not sure how clear this is, but that’s about a 2″ dia. cable

Charging LEAF

Not a Snuffalufagus, our ev

The fast charger is actually a Nissan design and this is a showcase for how an ev can be quickly charged up (to about 80% capacity) in 15-30 minutes. Our experience today was pretty typical. We rolled in with <24% of our battery pack remaining after our drive up to Nashville’s Opry Mills and back 1. Within exactly 15 minutes, we had charged up to 74%, or one-half the battery pack capacity. That would be remarkably slow for pumping gas, of course. However, compared to L1 (120v) and L2 (240v) charging, it is remarkably fast.

Quick Charging

Charged 50% of the battery in exactly 15 min.

Nissan’s DC Quick Charger is 480v (!) and, to be honest, isn’t likely something you’d want at your home. Even if you could get the electric service hooked up for it and didn’t mind the $15,500 price tag, the noise this thing puts off is disturbing2. You know that high-pitch whine that some flash photo capacitors put off? Imagine that much louder and even higher pitch. Something like the world’s largest dental drill.

First step: put it into the charger…

But this is a showcase of what is possible for electric vehicles at fueling stations or service centers, not residential3. And it is quite cool to have one nearby.

Me with Fast Charger

Bonus shot of yours truly standing by the quick charger tower. Ainsley insisted on taking my photo since I’d taken hers.

Here’s a bonus video from over three years ago when the LEAF was first introduced to Nissan NA employees (many of whom are my neighbors).

  1. We only live about 2 miles away from Nissan, so making it home wasn’t really any issue. This was done solely for the purpose of just having done it… and to write this blog post. []
  2. This video shows some guys checking out the (older version) of the L3 fast charger (skip to the 3:45 mark to quickly hear the high-pitch sound this thing emits). []
  3. The 240v residential L2 charger is about $800 and the electric work to add a new circuit for it in your garage is typically around $1,200; likely much less if you’re planning ahead in new construction. []

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